Thai surrogacy probe: Foreigners donated eggs

Thai surrogacy probe: Foreigners donated eggs

The eggs used in the artificial fertilisation of 21 surrogacy babies, said to be fathered by a Japanese man, all came from foreign women of different nationalities, a police investigation has found.

The egg donors were Swedish, Spanish, Malaysian, Brazilian, Australian, Israeli, Chinese and American, a police source familiar with the ongoing investigation said yesterday.

Of the 21 babies, 12 are male and nine female. They were all born at Bangkok hospitals.

Nine of the babies were born from eggs donated by Spanish women, three of them from Israeli women, two each from Swedish, Brazilian, and Australian women, and one each from Malaysian, Chinese and American women, according to the source who requested anonymity. It remained unclear how many foreign women donated their eggs to be used in the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process or whether any of the women involved had donated more than one egg.

The sperm for the 21 babies were said to come from a Japanese man named Mitsutoki Shigeta, who is wanted by the authorities in connection with surrogacy services. He left the country earlier this month.

According to Immigration Depart-ment records, Shigeta has travelled to Thailand 40 times and on several occasions he left the country with children.

Officials will soon travel to Cambodia after an adviser to the Japanese man invited them to see how well four children apparently fathered by the man are being raised in Cambodia, The Japan Times reported yesterday. Shigeta's adviser had sent police photographs of the children in Cambodia showing they are in good health, according to assistant national police chief Kokiat Wongworachart, who referred to Shigeta's adviser as his "coordinator". Thai authorities need to check on them in person, Kokiat said at a news conference in Bangkok.

Metropolitan Police deputy chief Chayuth Thanataweerat urged the Japanese businessman to meet with Thai officials to prove he is the father of all the children and to tell officials why he wants to father so many children.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry said the ministry has provided guardianship for 12 babies, but no decision has been taken on what will eventually happen to them.

Kokiat said if the father wants to claim the 12 babies he will need to meet Thailand's legal requirements to do so.

In a related development, senior Supreme Court judge Sri-amporn Salikupt yesterday voiced support for the proposed law on surrogacy.

He said it was time for Thailand to have such a law in order to prevent illegal or commercial surrogacy services.

He said the law should require formation of an official committee to screen applications for surrogacy services, plus background checks about the physical and mental health of the sperm and egg donors.

He said the law should not limit surrogacy mothers to be only women from the same family as married couple seeking to have babies through artificial fertilisation. He said such a restriction would force couples to seek illegal surrogacy services, as it would be more difficult to find women relatives physically and mentally ready to become surrogate mothers.


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